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Tell people why they should visit the Juniata Valley

Why should visitors love our area? Count the ways.

“What do you do for fun around here?” Replies to this question can make or break a visitor’s impression of the Juniata River Valley. If you want them to visit again and say nice things about our area to others who might come, too, you need to have some good answers ready.

That means offering things to see and do that are either unique or worth seeing. Start counting the things we already have that will appeal to visitors, even if they don’t appeal to you.

Here’s a list of suggestions that the visitors bureau works to promote to visitors. Choose one or more but be sure you have an answer when the next person asks what you do for fun.

Racing: If you’ve never attended a Saturday night race at Port Royal Speedway, you must put this on your “to do” list this year. The “Speed Palace” boasts thousands of fans each week and is known as the number one dirt track on the east coast. In addition to Port Royal Speedway, did you know that we have all types and sizes of racing? We have go-karts at Seven Stars Speedway, lawn tractor racing at Middle Road Speedway and remote-control racing at LCRC Raceway and Richfield Raceway.

Local history: Our area is rich with history and there’s plenty to brag about! We have interesting museums including the McCoy House, the Tuscarora Academy, the Mifflin County Mennonite Heritage Center, and the Kishacoquillas Valley Historical Society Museum. Each houses artifacts celebrating our Native American, military, education, religious, agricultural and business history.

Wine, spirits and ales: Did you know Brookmere Winery, which opened in 1984, is one the oldest wineries in the state? We have growing collection of wineries, distilleries and breweries in the Juniata River Valley. Did you also know we have a new brewery in Juniata County? Hidden Stories Brewing Co. should be on your radar for a visit.

Live music: Our area is not short on talent. Just visit one of our many wineries, bars, restaurants and breweries that feature performers on a regular basis. Juniata Valley Winery’s Friday night music will be starting in May and Shy Bear Brewing has more than 100 musical events planned for this year.

Local arts: Have you noticed the murals around Lewistown? Have you attended a painting party by Judy Mummau? Have you tried your hand at throwing clay on a wheel at Hometown Potters’ Studio? Have you stopped by The Wood Lathe Shop in Allensville to see master craftsman Joe Peachey’s wooden furniture? Support our local artists’ work and learn from them by taking a class.

Goose Day: Who doesn’t love a fun and quirky holiday to celebrate? Be proud of our local holiday and help it grow! Get on board this year and let our office know how you plan to celebrate. Don’t forget to see the Wild Geese on display mostly around Downtown Lewistown. For a list of geese landings, visit the Community Partnerships Facebook page.

Bird watching: In addition to geese, we love all our feathered friends. Take a drive to Jack’s Mountain Overlook sometime and talk to one of the friendly Jack’s Mountain Hawk Watch volunteers about the birds who migrate through our area.

Great Outdoors: Vistas, trails, parks, streams and the river. We have great natural resources, and many have been sources of escape and renewal during this past year. Do yourself a favor and go fishing, kayaking, biking or just take a walk and appreciate all the Juniata River Valley has to offer.

What did I miss? I know there is much more here, but I wanted to give you a few talking points to get the conversation started.

What do you do around here for fun? Share your thoughts with me on the Juniata River Valley Visitors Bureau Facebook page.

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Buffie Boyer is a marketing assistant with the Juniata River Valley Visitors Bureau.

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